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I attended showings three times at the Cooper. The first was for “The Hunt For Red October”. Next it was the revival of “Ben-Hur” — talk about big screen splendor in full 65mm glory. Most every DVD cuts off about a hundred Roman soldiers spead to either edge in some scenes. I recall the curtains were lit from below, gold sections rising straight up alternating, I believe, with maroon, shimmering — they pulled heavily straight to left and right — very modern; no rise. There was a smoking area in an elevated section to house left, and I never smelled smoke because of the excellent environmental system. The chariot race blew me away on that size a screen, easily the best of all the many showings of “Ben-Hur” I attended over the years.
The third time was for the premier of a film I was Second Unit Director on — “Kill Line” with Bobby Kim — a Denver area Tae Kwon Do instructor of tremendous ability, completely wasted in this film. I felt a little sad to see it there — a magnificent theater completely wasted on such a poor movie. Shortly after that, the Cooper closed.
Dr. Zhivago was playing here the first time my family visited Scottsdale. It is the only movie I saw at the Kachina. As you drove by the outside was very colorful and modern-looking. I seem to recall it was the “Kachina Cinerama” then, but maybe it was just promoting the 70MM screening of Zhivago. I got Mom to drop me off, a bit late for the start, so I don’t recall how the curtains opened. But when I stepped into the blackness I could sense the awesome proportions … on the screen a train was chuffing across a vast winter landscape. It seemed to just crawl across the entire length of that screen. It was awesome. Someone posted the Box Office Magazine article on this great theater — thanks! It is still very much real in my mind; perhaps because I live so far away, it never really closed.
We used to visit my sister Lillian in Scottsdale, and on one long trip from California in 1966 there were ads in our reading materials for The Blue Max. Coming in to Scottsdale there it was, at the Cine Capri, one of the most fabulous theaters I ever saw. I had just gotten my license and begged Mom for the car so I could go to the movie there, and she relented if I took my little brother Ricky.
Those opening moments, as the biplanes soared over the battlefield on that fantastic screen are embedded in my brain — the fury of their machine guns reduced to tiny tapping high overhead. And I remember the lifting of her curtains before the show began — it gave any movie at the Cine Capri special importance and I saw a film there every time I came to town — if it was playing here, it must be good. Totally infatuated with the aerial scenes on that big screen, I left the theater in a haze, completely unaware I had left my little brother asleep on the cushions of that comfortable lobby. If I recall, it was circular and had very tall windows. We found him there a half hour later when I returned under scathing direction from my Mom.